Help me save the memories...
May 22, 2012 12:51 PM   Subscribe

Any way to salvage pictures off of a wet iphone?

My iphone 4s got wet this weekend...Not submerged but wet enough to bork it. I took it to a secondary fix it place (they had replaced a broken screen before....great reputation, I was very happy the first time..) and they just told me it was toast. I had lots of pics from my son's pre-k graduation on there and a few videos. Is there any way to save these? I have my old 4 to use, not so worried about the phone but I want the pics.....

Any ideas? Help please!!
posted by pearlybob to Technology (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I believe the standard advice is to put the phone in a ziploc bag of rice for a while (like a week) and then see if it works after that.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:53 PM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Have you tried putting it in rice? That might dry it up enough to get the photos off
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:53 PM on May 22, 2012

To overstate the obvious: you had not set up iCloud yet? If so, your last 1000 photos are in the cloud.
posted by The Deej at 12:55 PM on May 22, 2012

(but iCloud does not yet support videos)
posted by misterbrandt at 12:57 PM on May 22, 2012

Nthing rice, I gave one of my lecturers this tip and it worked for a fully submerged iPhone which as far as I know is still going a year later (how the hell do people manage to drop their phones in the toilet?).

The sooner you do it the better. Do NOT heat it, this will cause condensation inside, and increase the potential for permanent damage.

Incidentally, rice is the preferred solution because it is
  • Incredibly absorbent of moisture
  • Unlike other similarly absorbent items (e.g. flour), too big to clog up the ports

posted by fearnothing at 12:58 PM on May 22, 2012

how the hell do people manage to drop their phones in the toilet?

I'm guessing we don't want to know.

On a more helpful note, nthing rice. Give it a fair bit of time in that environment (days, maybe) before trying to turn it on again, because otherwise you could damage it further.
posted by divisjm at 1:22 PM on May 22, 2012

On topic now...Trying the rice trick wont hurt anything, though it works better with a phone you can actually open. I suggest you say your prayers but prepare for the worst.

I'm assuming you haven't done a backup/sync to your computer recently? If you have (and depending on how you set it up) your memories should be there. At least the ones made before the backup.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:40 PM on May 22, 2012

Response by poster: I did the rice thing before taking it to the outside repair place. Nothing... They have done a 2 day dry and diagnostic, it doesn't work. I did a back up about 2 days before my sons graduation.....

I need to investigate the icloud thing.... great thought so far....keep them coming...
posted by pearlybob at 1:43 PM on May 22, 2012

Best answer: How bad do you want it back? It's almost certain that the non-volatile storage chip is okay; what's most likely is that the various power management stuff is toast. It may be that it's all on a single board and thus the repair joint couldn't do anything for you.

If you're willing to pay potentially high costs you can find a professional data recovery place. Push comes to shove, someone could remove the storage. This iFixit teardown indicates it's a Toshiba THGVX1G7D2GLA08 16 GB 24 nm MLC NAND flash memory. Removing a surface-mount component and clamping it into something else - and then putting the data into something resembling coherent form - isn't trivial but it's not impossible either. If you contact different data recovery places you'll eventually find one set up to do such a thing.

I wouldn't do anything till it had spent a week in the rice, though.
posted by phearlez at 1:48 PM on May 22, 2012

Oh, if you've hooked up to a sync since the graduation (or plugged into power and have wireless sync turned on) you should look in your backup files. You can dig through them directly. Here's the first hit off of "extract iphone backups."
posted by phearlez at 1:50 PM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

When was the last time you backed up your phone? I'm pretty sure it archives the camera roll as well.
posted by volition at 1:54 PM on May 22, 2012

I Googled around and saw this. It's free so worth a shot if you have backups.
posted by volition at 1:57 PM on May 22, 2012

how the hell do people manage to drop their phones in the toilet?

iPhone in shirt pocket. Bend down to lift the toilet seat, SPLASH!
posted by zardoz at 7:22 PM on May 22, 2012

Bheestie bags are apparently a lot more effective than rice if you go down that route.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:36 AM on May 23, 2012

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